This is it, Week 16 is here! Congratulations to those who have made it to their fantasy football championships. Getting to the championship is one thing, but winning is another. If you need a fill-in for Antonio Brown or other players in your starting lineup who aren’t cutting it, look no further than Raymond Summerlin’s Waiver Wire Column for help.
I’ll be filling in for Dan Dobish, letting you in on all of the fantasy-relevant news, including a few key players landing on injured reserve.
Pack It Up
With the Green Bay Packers fighting for their playoff hopes in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers, everything seemed to be looking up. Their savior, Aaron Rodgers, was returning and there were multiple glowing reports from coaches and teammates in practice the week before.
The game didn’t go as planned with Rodgers throwing three interceptions in a 31-24, Packers loss. With their playoff hopes dashed, the Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Tuesday. The Packers will turn back to Brett Hundley for the two remaining games against the Vikings and Lions.
With Hundley at the helm, receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb should remain on your bench, but Davante Adams should be started as long as he’s healthy. Adams was knocked out of Week 15 with a concussion and didn’t practice on Tuesday, leaving his status in serious question. He is the only one who seems to have survived Rodgers’ absence from a fantasy standpoint, averaging 16.27 PPR points per game without him. If Adams remains sidelined, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison would likely see an uptick in targets.
Recently turned 34, Rodgers will remain an elite QB1 in 2018. His average draft position will be something to monitor in early re-draft leagues. If fantasy players are discounting Rodgers due to a “down year”, don’t be afraid to pounce next season. Not including 2017, Rodgers has finished as a top two fantasy quarterback in 7-of-9 seasons since 2008 (-1 for INT, 4 point touchdowns) and is one of the true “elite” quarterbacks.
The Hunt is Over
Coming into his sophomore season, expectations were that the Chargers would facilitate a “passing of the torch,” from Antonio Gates to Hunter Henry at tight end. This got off to a slow start with Henry receiving zero targets in Week 1 but changed quickly as Henry caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards in Week 2. Fast forward to Week 15 where Henry suffered a slight laceration in his kidney and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. OG Brett Boyko was signed off the practice squad in the corresponding move.
Henry will end 2017 with 45 receptions for 579 yards and four touchdowns, good for the TE 12 in points per game. With Henry out, Gates will likely take on a bigger role in Weeks 15 and 16 against the Jets and Raiders.
With Henry out snapping Gates 598-to-395, Henry officially took over the starting role in 2017. Gates seems unlikely to return in 2018, meaning Henry could be in for a big year. He is a good “buy” target in dynasty leagues and will offer plenty of upside in redraft leagues.
After being initially labeled with a calf bruise during Week 15 against the Patriots, Brown was later re-diagnosed with a partially torn calf. Coach Tomlin confirmed on Tuesday that Brown will be out for Week 16 against the Texans.
With Brown out, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant will likely start on the outside with Eli Rogers manning the slot against the Texans awful pass defense. Both Bryant and Smith-Schuster should be started in fantasy leagues as high-upside plays. Despite playing on the road without his top receiving option, Ben Roethlisberger’s matchup makes him a premier play in Week 16.
RB Ameer Abdullah said his lack of playing time last week was “frustrating.” Abdullah played only eight snaps in Week 15 and looks to have been benched. He shouldn’t be trusted in fantasy lineups in Week 16. … Steelers CB Joe Haden (leg) will return Week 16 against the Texans. Haden’s return is a big boost for the Steelers’ secondary. … Bucs placed LB Adarius Glanton on injured reserve with a broken leg. Glanton was filling in for starter Lavonte David and was carted off the field in Week 15. He should be ready for the start of 2017. … Broncos placed OLB Shane Ray (wrist) on injured reserve, ending his season. After struggling in 2017, Ray will have to step his game up next season if he wants the Broncos to exercise his fifth-year option. … The Broncos will wait until the end of Week 16 to name their starting quarterback. If former first-round pick Paxton Lynch is healthy enough to play they will likely roll with him the next two weeks. They are giving him every opportunity to prove himself. … Lions placed WR T.J. Jones on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season. Jones’ absence will leave Kenny Golladay as the Lions’ No. 3 receiver. … Texans placed QB Tom Savage (concussion) on injured reserve, ending his season. Savage suffered a brutal concussion in Week 14, leaving T.J. Yates to finish off the rest of the season as the Texans starting quarterback. … Panthers WLB Thomas Davis‘ suspension for violating the league’s player-safety policy has been reduced to one game. This ruling goes with nearly every suspension the NFL has given out as it gets reduced by at least a game seemingly every time.
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